to bring resurrection

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

Jesus is coming. When the apostle Paul talks about the coming of the Lord, he uses the Greek word Parousia. This word was often associated with the coming of a king from a great military victory. He would ride into the city and all the people would flock to welcome him. They would shower him with gifts and songs as they celebrated his victory. Paul uses this word because he is acknowledging a new king: Jesus.

Jesus is the great King who comes into the world, and all of his people will flock to welcome him. We will meet him in the air, but we will not be transported to some spiritual, ethereal heaven. Instead, we will meet Jesus in the air only to usher him back to the earth where he will set up his kingdom and reign forever. He will renew the world and we will live with him.

This is the hope we cling to. Paul states that even those who are dead will raise to life again to meet King Jesus. We will celebrate the victory that Jesus has had, even over death. We anticipate this coming, this Parousia, as the final return of Jesus. 

This scripture was originally written in Greek, but as more people from other cultures desired access, it was translated into their language. Soon it would be translated into Latin, and the Greek word Parousia became the Latin word Advent. May we use this Advent season to remember that whether dead or alive, we will all usher our King into his kingdom.



– Nativity scene pieces
– Bible

Read the story of Jesus’ birth from the Bible (Luke 2) and put the pieces/characters on as they appear in the story.

Use this week to set up a nativity scene in your home. Usually, a nativity scene consists of figurines depicting baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, three Wise Men (also called Magi), an angel, and some animals on the night of Jesus’ birth. The purpose of the nativity scene is to remember the humble coming of God’s freedom to earth and the amazing joy that surrounded his birth. If you don’t have a nativity scene for your family, this is a great time to buy or even make your own. Just like the Advent Wreath, there is no “right” way to set up your nativity scene. If you have children, it can be a family creative project. You could cut out the figurines from construction paper or felt. You could even use LEGOs and Barbies, as long as your children understand what those figurines are representing!

But this year, don’t put Jesus in the scene just yet. Wait until Christmas morning to put him in the manger. As you are setting the scene without Jesus, take the opportunity to think through and/or talk with your family about what all the other people in the scene were anticipating at this time. What was Mary thinking and feeling? What about Joseph? What about the shepherds, who had been waiting for the freedom of God’s Messiah for hundreds of years? Do you think God gave the animals any special inclination that something so loving was about to happen in their stable?